It's a simple concept but a vital one. In order to reach a goal, it's necessary that you're able to measure your progress along the way. At times this can seem overwhelming but I'm here to tell you that with one simple focus, you'll reach your goals before you know it.
Your goal every day is to be better than yesterday. It doesn't have to be a profoundly significant improvement every day, it just has to be better. A thousand baby steps is better than a giant leap followed by nothing.
One of my favorite quotes that has shaped my outlook on life is by world renowned life coach Tony Robbins who said, "Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade." Persistence always wins.
In order to improve each day you need to do 2 things:
1) Have a goal - If you don't know where you're going, how do you know where to focus your energy?
2) Measure - If you don't have a baseline or a way to measure change, how will you know when you've achieved progress?
When I first started my dive down the fitness and mobility rabbit-hole I decided to take some "before" pictures of myself wearing just my undies. I also started a fitness journal where I recorded everything I did each day. I wrote down my workouts, the weights I used, and the time it took to complete them (this is something I still do!).
After a few weeks of hard work I was starting to get deterred and wondered if all this work was paying off. After all, I see myself in the mirror every day and wasn't noticing any change. It was at that point I decided to try something... I took another set of pictures of myself and I also went back in my journal and found a workout I completed when I first started and decided to try it again.
Not only was I able to perform the same workout with heavier weight but I completed it in less time! When I got home from the gym I compared my pictures and noticed a big change! I was starting to see defined muscles, and a sense of confidence!
I now use this same concept when it comes to mobilization. When I look at movement patterns, I first try to understand what the movement should look like in its correct form. Next, I need to establish a baseline for where my students current range of motion. Lastly, after mobilizing, I re-test the area I'm trying to change and see if we've improved upon the baseline.
Pictures, Videos, Journals, or other forms of data tracking are fantastic ways to see this progress over time. Just like looking at yourself in the mirror every day to track weight loss, you may not notice the improvement in your mobility right away but over time the changes will be significant.
My point to all this is that if you don't know where you start, you'll never be able to measure how much you've improved. When you're feeling down or like you aren't making progress, you'll be able to prove to yourself that yes in fact you are improving. This concept of having a goal, measuring where you are, working towards that goal, and re-measuring where you are is the secret to any form of self improvement.
Always remember, any progress is better than none...
Here's some food for thought for tracking your game...
1) Total Score
How many strokes did it take you to finish the round?
2) Number of Putts
Out of the total strokes it took you to finish your round, how many of those were putts?
3) Fairways Hit
How many fairways do you hit with your first shot on each hole. Remember, par 3's don't have fairways
4) Greens in Regulation
Take the par of the hole and subtract two (2). If you hit the green in that many shots (and have a birdie putt opportunity) you hit a green in regulation.
5) Up and Down Saves
When you miss the green, how often do you get the ball up (on the green) and down (in the hole) in two shots or less.
6) Driver Club Head Speed
Club Head Speed is a measure for potential distance. The higher your club speed, the more potential energy that goes into your ball.
7) Strokes Gained
This is a little trickier to calculate but essentially strokes gained or strokes lost tells you if certain shots you hit helped or hurt your game.
There are so many aspects that go into each one of these that it's impossible to say "do this one thing to make that better." The more you're able to measure certain aspects of your game, the more aware you'll be of where you should be spending your time practicing.